Posted by: atowhee | August 21, 2017

ECLIPSED

ECLIPSED
August 21, Solar Eclipse. Eight viewers witnessed this eclipse from our garden in McMinnville.
930 AM The moon now obscures about twenty percent of the sun’s face toward the earth. The moon appears to dropping across the sun from the upper right, approximately where the 2 sits on a twelve hour clock face. House Finches are moving in the trees. The Red-breasted Nuthatch comes to the feeder for a sunflower chip. There is sunshine on my face and it feels warm.1SUN1
934 AM The nuthatch is back at the feeder, its previous chip dispatched with dispatch. An agitated squirrel creates his alarum, perhaps miffed at the dogs in the garden.
938 AM The sun is now about thirty percent covered. A scrub-jay whines nearby.
946 AM The sun is now forty percent obscured. The neighborhood kids are loud. A scrub-jay is complaining about avian politics while a collared-dove calls…monotonously.
952 AM The sun is now half covered but the sky is still blue and the shadows are not darker than before it all began. The air is now significantly cooler and the sun does not feel warm on my face any more. Our thermometer says the air temp is 77 degrees Fahrenheit.
957 AM The sun is now two-thirds covered by moon. Only a shining sickle shape in the lower left-hand third of the sun is visible, yet its light is still literally blinding. The dogs pay no attention to the sun/moon pas de deux. The nuthatch has not been visible for several minutes but we’ve heard chickadees calling.
10 AM The sun is now three-fourths blacked out but the sky remains blue, the day now less bright. Without the black viewing spectacles the solar spectacle would be passing un-noticed to the naked human eye at this point. No wonder ancients were so surprised and even frightened. It would seem sudden as well as inexplicable.SOLARSUN2
1002 AM Scrub-jay flies silently into the dense magnolia tree.
1004 AM The sun is now 90 % covered and the air is feeling cooler with the loss of radiant heat.
1008 AM Only a tiny platinum toenail shines past the lower left-hand arc of the darkening moon.
1010 AM The sunshine now comes from a sliver, 5% of the original globe but the sky is still blue. A second jay, calling loudly, flies into the magnolia.
1015 approx. Totality comes and goes quickly. During that brief interlude the sky turns black, Venus and a few stars can be seen. Bushtits muttering to one another pass through the trees. A scrub-jay calls from hiding. DONUTSUN3
As the moon begins to let sun shine past the notable diamond ring effect comes and goes in seconds. It appears at around 2 o’clock where the sun is first re-revealed to our eyes. Fireworks begin as the cretins and miscreants in the neighborhood insist their noise and fire power is more glorious that nature’s. I mark their display down to rampant Trump-poisoning in our culture. Look at me, I’m the loudest, etc. The dogs had remained quiet but the man-made mock warfare terrifies them and they run for cover.
1020 AM The thermometer now puts the air temp at 69 degrees eight degrees less than it was less than half an hour ago. No wonder it is so cold on the dark side of the moon.
1024 AM More and more sun is revealed, normal daylight has returned.
1025 AM The nuthatch is honking again. And we hear the chickadees calling. At least ten percent of the sun is back at work on warming our part of the planet.

FOR SOME FINE ECLIPSE PICTURES–WELL BEYOND MY MEAGER EFFORTS–CLICK HERE FOR CNN’S MONTAGE FROM ACROSS THE WORLD. NOTHING FAKE ABOUT THIS NEWS.

BIRD CLASS—FALL 2017
MY MCMINNVILLE-BASED FALL BIRDING CLASS IS NOW OPEN FOR REGISTRATION. CLICK HERE FOR THE PARK 7 REC PROGRAM GUIDE. THE BIRD CLASS IS ON PAGE 24. OCT, 7 THRU 21. THREE TALKS, THREE WALKS.

Posted by: atowhee | August 20, 2017

LITTLE VISITORS REAPPEAR

Yesterday I got pictures of Chestnut-backed Chickadees in our garden, first of this species in some time. I doubt they breed here in the valley. From Mid-May through July I rarely see them here. Presumably that is the height of their breeding season and they are in wet conifer forests in the region. Their Black-capped cousins nest near our home and come frequently, often several times per day and sometimes accompanying or accompanied by the Red-breasted Nuthatches.
They always announce their presence with a few blasts on their tiny whistles, then flutter about the feeders, selecting exactly the right sunflower chip before taking it off to chisel tinier bits to swallow.cbch eatzcbch firstcbch first2Bead of water on the beak tip:cbch lookA Downy flew in for lunch while we ere having ours:down-upp
How often do squirrel acrobatics lead to tragedy?sq-batsq-bat1sq-bat2sq-bat4sq-bat5
BERRY BIRDSAt Joe Dancer Park this morning, one small flocks of berry birds were flitting around the trees along the river:robins and waxwings. Some fruit crop must have been ripe. I could not see what it was.ww inshade

MY MCMINNVILLE-BASED FALL BIRDING CLASS IS NOW OPEN FOR REGISTRATION. CLICK HERE FOR THE PARK 7 REC PROGRAM GUIDE. THE BIRD CLASS IS ON PAGE 24. OCT, 7 THRU 21. THREE TALKS, THREE WALKS.

820 NW 19th Street, McMinnville, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Aug 19, 2017. 11 species

Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) X
Downy Woodpecker (Pacific) (Picoides pubescens gairdnerii/turati) 1
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica) 2
Chestnut-backed Chickadee (Poecile rufescens) 2 first of season
Bushtit (Pacific) (Psaltriparus minimus [minimus Group]) X
Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis) 2
American Robin (Turdus migratorius) X
Spotted Towhee (oregonus Group) (Pipilo maculatus [oregonus Group]) 1
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) 15
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) X
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) X

Joe Dancer Park, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Aug 20, 2017 10:30 AM. 10 species

Vaux’s Swift (Chaetura vauxi) 2
Northern Flicker (Red-shafted) (Colaptes auratus [cafer Group]) 1
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica) X
Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina) 1
Barn Swallow (American) (Hirundo rustica erythrogaster) 40
American Robin (Turdus migratorius) 20
Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) 15
Common Yellowthroat (Geothlypis trichas) 1
Spotted Towhee (oregonus Group) (Pipilo maculatus [oregonus Group]) 1
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) 20

Posted by: atowhee | August 20, 2017

WINE, WINGS AND A WONDERFUL FLIGHT

Yesterday afternoon I took our first pair of eclipsophilic visitors for a look around the area. We went up to the Dundee Hills. Stopping at Red Ridge Farms we visited the olive press, the wonderful plant nursery, the olive oil dispensary and shop. Then we walked toward the west edge of the hill top for the views next to the tasteful tasting room. There were dozens of people chatting, eating and drinking at a spot where ten people is the usual crowd. I had convinced myself that is was simply a convergence of many pre-eclipse tours at this scenic spot. As we approached the tasting room I stared at the four people seated around the first outdoor table we came to. Three were drinking the Durant Vineyards vintages, with some snacks before them as well. The fourth person was a woman wearing a live Peregrine. The falcon tightly gripped the leather glove on her left hand. pere-winepetre-wine3The woman was describing to the other three how she fed her bird and how often. She then turned to another woman who was working with her and explained that the owl might go toward the road and so that area had to be watched.
We got to the edge of the slope facing west over the Willamette Valley and the smoke-choked slopes on the western foot of the Cascades. Dozens of folks were gathered, nearly all facing over the view. But they weren’t just there for the scenery. Some had binoculars, all of the type that indicate a non-serious birder. No $2000 optics in this crowd. Cameras were slung over shoulders. Gradually it dawned on us that we’d stumbled into an event, a release of a rehab bird about to go wild. A Great Horned Owl was being released to take up residence at the vineyard. Grapes draw rodents, and that is a preferred food source among owls and many raptors.
The owl soared downhill with its long, soft wings flapping soundlessly. It headed to the nearest line of large conifers and disappeared into the foliage. To sleep before his first night’s hunt back in the wild. This bird had been rescued as an owlet that fell out of a nest in January and then was raised with other owls prior to being released.
So this owl was a proud graduate of the Turtle Ridge Wildlife Center near Salem, Oregon. Great work, folks. The crowd was there to witness the release and donate money to the center. Wine and wings and wonder.
OWLL1OWLL2OWLL3OWLL4OWLL5OWLL6OWLL7OWLL8OWLL9OWLL10
Here are the trees wherein the owl came to rest on its first freedom flight, Cascades in the background.DURANT VU
BEE-ATIFIC
Earlier in the gardens of Red Ridge we had been happy to see all the busy bees. A clump of seven-foot tall Joe Pye weeds were thick with blooms, those in turn were probed and prodded by plenty of bees. Just a couple yards away was a single Russian sage. Its blossoms were always bee-ing buzzed and nectar imbibed, pollen packed into pollen packets. Later, at White Rose Vineyards, atop the highest swell of the hill, dozens of blooming Russian sage formed curving hedges. There, again, the bees happily out-numbered all the other visible creatures including wine-tasters.

Dundee Hills, Yamhill, Oregon, US
Aug 19, 2017 3:30 PM. 9 species

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) 4
Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) X
Great Horned Owl (Great Horned) (Bubo virginianus [virginianus Group]) 1
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica) X
Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina) X
American Robin (Turdus migratorius) X
Dark-eyed Junco (Oregon) (Junco hyemalis [oreganus Group]) 4
Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia) 1
Lesser Goldfinch (Spinus psaltria) X

MY MCMINNVILLE-BASED FALL BIRDING CLASS IS NOW OPEN FOR REGISTRATION. CLICK HERE FOR THE PARK 7 REC PROGRAM GUIDE. THE BIRD CLASS IS ON PAGE 24. OCT, 7 THRU 21. THREE TALKS, THREE WALKS.

Posted by: atowhee | August 18, 2017

REAL LIFE RESURRECTION, NO SUPERSTITION REQUIRED

A butterfly that has been “missing” from sight for over a century in the far north of Great Britain…now it has been seen again…in Scotland, not one of the lest peopled spots on earth. Click here for the exciting story and picture of the tiny survivor.
The northward move of this species may be related to climate change as numerous Ero-butterflies are moving north.

Posted by: atowhee | August 18, 2017

YAMHILL SHOREBIRDS AND DUCKS

CORRECTION…OUR UNUSUAL SHOREBIRD WAS NOT A PECT…IT’S A SOLITARY. THE DARK ON THE BREAST IS TOO SOLID TO BE A PECTORAL.
August 18 This morning Paul Sullivan and I birded some of the watery spots in south Yamhill County. First stop was Sheridan Sewer Ponds where we had seven species of ducks and six of shorebirds. But the best find of the day was along Patty Lane where it crosses Ash Swale, south of Amity. Looking out the car window there was a single shorebird feeding on the bare mud along the creek. First, we noticed the speckled back…then Paul pointed out the bright white eye-ring. It was a Pectoral Sandpiper, WE THOUGHT. STUDYING IT LATER AFTER SUGGESTION FROM MY FRIEND, DICK ASHFORD…SOLITARY SANDPIPER. My first of the fall. A scarce if regular migrant through Yamhill after the breeding season. “Pects”—as we lovingly call them–breed along the edge of the North Sea and in Siberia.PECT1PECT2PECT3
SHERIDAN SEWER PONDS
The waterfowl and shorebirds are beginning to collect at this spot popular with both groups as well as some scent-impaired birders.
Red-necked Phalarope, a pair was far out in the pond with terrible back lighting.RN PHAL FAR
There was a small flock of peeps, a majority were Western Sandpipers:wesa brite2Preening, if you;d been eating what they were eating you’d wanna clean your feathers, too. But that beak has been places…wesa preenTwopipers: Western on left and at rear, Least to the right:twopipers
The Brewer’s Blackbirds were legion, and busy and everywhere we looked, but we tried to concentrate on the quartet of handsome Lesser Yellowlegs:LY BRBLYeah, Killdeer. They, too, were all along the shoreline.LY NEARBYLY PAIRDLY SHRDNAs I said, the blackbirds were all around…here you see a scattered, chaotic flock in the sky. A few Violet-green Swallows in that swirl no doubt. The swallows were the only species more numerous than Mallards or coots.BRBL GNATS
SWALLOWS ABOUNDIN’ There were a few Barn, and here you see two of the Cliffs, but mostly it was Violet-green and predominantly first year birds.clsw on wireIMG_4169VG on right, Cliffies to the left.vg-c slwo1wired1
WATERFOWLwfowl1Above, taking off in background: Shoveler. Below, Pintail near Canada Geese.wfowl2
Bonus bird: Black Phoebe, looked like a youngster:BP ON PIPE

Sheridan WTP Ponds (restricted access), Yamhill, Oregon, US
Aug 18, 2017 10:00 AM – 11:15 AM. 36 species

Canada Goose (moffitti/maxima) (Branta canadensis moffitti/maxima) 40
Cinnamon Teal (Spatula cyanoptera) 5
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata) 50
Mallard (Northern) (Anas platyrhynchos platyrhynchos/conboschas) 150
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) 4
Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis) 1
Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus) 2
Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis) 1
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) 1
Osprey (carolinensis) (Pandion haliaetus carolinensis) 1
American Coot (Fulica americana) 50
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) 12
Least Sandpiper (Calidris minutilla) 2
Western Sandpiper (Calidris mauri) 6
Red-necked Phalarope (Phalaropus lobatus) 2
Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularius) 1
Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes) 4
Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) X
Vaux’s Swift (Chaetura vauxi) 1
Black Phoebe (Sayornis nigricans) 1
California Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica) 2
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) X
Common Raven (Corvus corax) 1
Violet-green Swallow (Tachycineta thalassina) 500
Barn Swallow (American) (Hirundo rustica erythrogaster) 50
Cliff Swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) 4
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) X
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) 1
White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) 1
Savannah Sparrow (Savannah) (Passerculus sandwichensis [sandwichensis Group]) 10
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) X
Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) 1
Brewer’s Blackbird (Euphagus cyanocephalus) X
House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus) X
American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis) X
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) X

Posted by: atowhee | August 17, 2017

ECLIPSE BEHAVIOR

What will we see among our neighboring creatures when the eclipse passes across Oregon? There’s a bit of info from previous eclipses, click here.
Click here for second article on animal reaction to eclipse.

Posted by: atowhee | August 17, 2017

TWIST AND SHOUT

When you are a teenager the world can be confusing, scary, troublesome, a mere distraction or plaything…and all of these at once. Here is young Acorn Woodpecker feeling intensely as he explores the world beyond his natal oak. Photo by Marieannette McCabe in Rogue Valley.acorn kiddo 019

Posted by: atowhee | August 16, 2017

BEE SLEEP

Here is email I got from my friend, Marieannette McCabe, who refers to herself in this missive as “MAM.”
Did you know that Bumblebees do not necessarily go back to a nest at night? MAM did not. Here is a Bumblebee MAM found sleeping soundly on a Russian Sage plant. She sees this often. The other night she specifically noted three bees sleeping on the plant at 8 pm. She went back at 7 am and they were still there sleeping!
Sleep right on top of your food. Nice work if you can get it!

Unlike Honey Bees, these bees don’t have a hive that they stick with closely to do the big time honey collection thing…….. But as long as they pollinate, MAM is happy! She used a magnifying glass to check out if they close their eyes when sleeping. Nope, no lids…….. And even though she was within 3″ of them they were not aroused. Probably in torpor.
What a variety of lives Nature has provided for her creatures… bee sleep

Posted by: atowhee | August 16, 2017

A CLEAN BIRD IS A HEALTHY BIRD

How and why birds keep clean. Why we people must keep our birdbaths clean as well.

Posted by: atowhee | August 15, 2017

THE GAR-DENsity OF BIRDS

The population of birds in our garden is as dense as it ever is…lots of House Finches and frequent flurries of other species coming and going. Gar-density. A few days ago I heard the sapsucker laughing nearby, today he made himself visible, up and down the dawn redwood trunks.RBS BESTOur other red-breasted bird is a frequent client of both feeders (loves those sunflower chips) and bird bath.RB BATHRB BATH2RB SIPRB SIP2RB SIP3RBN STARESRBN GONE
This little guy was still just long enough for a single image in focus:BC-FEEDR Then he became a blur, naturally.BC BLUR House Finches? How many would you like?HFOOD2IMG_3938 IN our garden he watcher is often watched. My wife and I were having lunch and I think this robin had been out in the sun, lawn-diving. He came in, panting, and really wanted to get into the birdbath but didn’t trust us.rbn watchingA few blocks down the street from our home is a grove of mature oaks, a village of oaks. There dwell the Acorn Woodpeckers:ACRN DIVEThsi bird is just perched on an oak, like so many other times you’ve seen this species,
right? Well, watch him oak dive!ACRN DIVE1ACRN DIVE2ACRN DIVE3ACRN DIVE4ACRN LOOKSACRN-X1
A most intense watcher of people:SQR-XSQR-X3SQR-X5

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